The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit implemented Electronic Case Filing (ECF) on January 2, 2009. For appeals filed after that date, the briefs may be available online through the Ninth Circuit PACER system.
PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is a fee-based system that provides the public access to federal case information. Anyone may register for a free PACER account. Charges will be incurred for retrieving docket information and case documents. (See PACER billing information and fee schedule.) For assistance with PACER, visit the PACER Service Center website or call (800) 676-6856.
Briefs filed in high profile cases are sometimes made available at no cost under the "Cases of Interest" section of the Court of Appeals Homepage.
Call the Clerk's Office at (415) 355-8000 (option 3) for assistance with finding briefs for cases that are not available on PACER. Be prepared to provide the docket / case number. This number is printed on the slip opinion and in any decision printed in West’s Federal Reporter or West’s Federal Appendix. It typically follows the following format: XX-YYYYY (e.g. 12-10124).
In general, four to five years after case closure, the Court of Appeals case file is transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Regional Archives in San Bruno, California. Call the Clerk's Office at (415) 355-8000 (option 3) to obtain NARA location information for a case.
The Ninth Circuit Library in San Francisco now holds a non-comprehensive collection of briefs and other historical records of the 9th Circuit from 1891 through the late 1960's. These materials were originally collected by the San Francisco Law Library and later held at Hastings College of the Law. Some of these records have been scanned and are available online through the 9th Circuit Historical Records Index System (9CHRIS) and the Internet Archive. If you are unable to find what you are looking for online, you can contact the library at 415-355-8650 for us to check our index for additional materials.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals briefs may also be available from the following sources:
Commercial legal research databases, such as Westlaw and Lexis. Check with local public law libraries for access information. [Partial listing of county law libraries].
Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington, Seattle: Copies provided through the Copy & Send Service.
For additional help with finding briefs and other court records from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and other courts, consult a research guide. The following are a few research guides written about this topic:
Berkeley Law Library: Docket Information and Case Filings
Duke Law: Court Records and Briefs
Georgetown University Law Library: Briefs, Oral Arguments and Other Court Documents Research Guide
Harvard Law School Library: Records, Briefs, and Court Filings